Anton Raphael Mengs
In Rome, his fresco painting of Parnassus at Villa Albani gained him a reputation as a master painter. The appointment of Mengs in 1749 as first painter to Frederick Augustus, elector of Saxony, did not prevent his spending much time in Rome, where he had married Margarita Guazzi who had sat for him as a model in 1748, and abjured the Protestant faith, and where he became in 1754 director of the Vatican school of painting, nor did this hinder him on two occasions from obeying the call of Charles III of Spain to Madrid. There Mengs produced some of his best work, and specially the ceiling of the banqueting-hall of the Royal Palace of Madrid, the subject of which was the Triumph of Trajan and the Temple of Glory. Among his pupils there was Agustín Esteve. After the completion of this work in 1777, Mengs returned to Rome, and there he died, two years later, in poor circumstances, leaving twenty children, seven of whom were pensioned by the king of Spain. His portraits and self-portraits recall an attention to detail and insight, often lost from the grand manner paintings.
Besides numerous paintings in the Madrid gallery, the Ascension and St Joseph at Dresden, Perseus and Andromeda at Saint Petersburg, and the ceiling of the Villa Albani must be mentioned among his chief works. In 1911, Henry George Percy, 7th Duke of Northumberland, possessed a Holy Family, and the colleges of All Souls and Magdalen, at Oxford, possessed altar-pieces by Mengs's hand.
In his writings, in Spanish, Italian and German, Mengs has put forth his eclectic theory of art, which treats of perfection as attainable by a well-schemed combination of diverse excellences Greek design, with the expression of Raphael, the chiaroscuro of Correggio, and the colour of Titian
His intimacy with Johann Joachim Winckelmann has enhanced his historical importance. Mengs came to share Winckelmann's enthusiasm for classical antiquity, and worked to establish the dominance of Neoclassical painting. At the same time, however, the influence of the Roman Baroque remained strong, particularly in Mengs' religious paintings. He would have fancied himself the first neoclassicist, while in fact he may be the last flicker of Baroque art. Or in the words of Wittkower, In the last analysis, he is as much an end as a beginning. Of Mengs, Goethe wrote in Winckelmann und sein Jahrhundert; he deplored that:
"so much learning should have been allied to a total want of initiative and poverty of invention, and embodied with a strained and artificial mannerism."
Mengs had a well-known rivalry with the contemporary Italian painter Pompeo Batoni. He was also a friend of Giacomo Casanova. Casanova provides accounts of his personality and contemporary reputation through anecdotes in Histoire de Ma Vie.
Mengs died in Rome in June 1779 and was buried in the Roman Church of Santi Michele e Magno.
Selected works 
- Ascension (Dresden, Court Church), 1751/1766
- St Joseph (Dresden, Court Church), 1751/1766
- The Glory of Saint Eusebius (ceiling fresco, Sant'Eusebio, Rome), 1757 (modello, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Canada Ottawa)
- Charles III (Madrid, Museo del Prado), 1761
See also 
- "Anton Raphael Mengs (Bohemian painter)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
- A case for an attribution to Giovanni Casanova, brother of the famous memoirist and rake, was made by Thomas Pelzel, "Winckelmann, Mengs and Casanova: A Reappraisal of a Famous Eighteenth-Century Forgery", The Art Bulletin 54.3 (September 1972:300-315).
- Portratit of Winckelmann
- Wittkower, p 469
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Anton Raphael Mengs|
- 'Self-portrait' (1774) at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
- 'Portrait of Charles III' (1761) at the Museo del Prado
- Wittkower, Rudolf (1993). "Art and Architecture Italy, 1600–1750". Pelican History of Art. 1980. Penguin Books Ltd. p. 469.
- "Anthon Rafael Mengs". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- Neil Jeffares, Dictionary of pastellists before 1800, online edition
- Paintings by Anton Raphael Mengs at WikiGallery.org